President’s Corner – Spring 2020


I hope this message finds all of you and your families well. The last few months have become a difficult time physically, mentally and financially for many. How have you been spending your time? Perhaps you have been home schooling your loved ones, working remotely, finishing projects you had been putting off or just laying low hoping to emerge when the time is right.

Personally, I think I have found my biggest challenge of all the years of my being President of the New Jersey Chapter — what to report when there is very little to report. Normally I use my column to fill you in on events that may have occurred recently or events that may be coming up on the horizon. Right now we are dealing with a great amount of uncertainty. Many world events have either been canceled or postponed until a later date; it will be strange not watching the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix on the Memorial Day weekend but I will be happy to see them later in the year.

We are now almost 3 months into a governmental induced shutdown caused by a pandemic of the coronavirus. I am not going to write about that, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about it already and are probably either no longer watching or listening to the daily news other than to hear when state and local businesses will reopen and yes, restaurants.

For their members’ safety, the BMW CCA National Office has suspended all Chapters from holding any events until June 2nd. No word yet on whether they will suspend events past that date. This will depend on governmental mandates; it may even be by region. There is also no indication from our own governor as to when he will let us all get back to work. I certainly don’t expect life, or business for that matter, to be the way it was for a very long time.

All we can do at this time is to prepare for when the stages of reopening happen. Currently it is difficult to plan for events when we don’t know to what capacity our events can be or whether we can be indoors. Most of our events except our monthly meetings are outside so that may not be a problem, weather cooperating.

Let me start with some things I do know. The Driver School and Club Race that was scheduled for June 8-9 has been canceled. There were too many unknowns with what protocols we would have to follow to have a safe event while maintaining social distancing. There is also is the possibility of the governor extending the quarantine past June. It would have been a major financial loss to the Club if we were to have proceeded with the event.

Another event that is victim of the pandemic is the Street
Survival School that was scheduled for Sunday, June 28th. We still have the September Street Survival School on the calendar; we’ll know more about holding the school later in the summer.

The 50th year celebration of the New Jersey Chapter founding has been postponed until next year, 2021. There is currently no date or venue scheduled but expect it to be in the warm weather months so we can enjoy an outdoor gathering of people and cars. It just didn’t make any sense to try to have it later this year; we need to return to some kind of normalcy, whatever that may be and it needs to be something that we can all enjoy.

We also have some events on the schedule for July. First up is the Biergarten at the Deutscher Club in Clark, Friday July 10th. The following weekend of July 18-19 is the 6th Annual Geoff Atkinson Memorial Driver School and Club Race at Summit Point, West Virginia. Finishing out July is an Autocross on July 26th at the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater. You will be able to find more information about these events and their status on our website.

If you haven’t been looking at our website the last few weeks, check it out. You will find the updated version is finally here. We are still working some of the bugs out of it but I think you will find it more user-friendly. Our goals are to be able to have more pictures, personal interest stories and after-event posts that are timely. You may find you can connect to some of our sponsors through their advertisements. Many thanks to Mark Hulbrock and Colin Vozeh for getting the “new” website done.

Last year I had mentioned buying a 2007 328Xi. I still have and love my 1988 E30 iX but wanted a car that had cup holders. As an update to the story, I had mentioned how great the seat heaters are; the other feature I like very much is the stereo volume control in the steering wheel. I have gotten so attached to it that when I push the same spot on the wheel in my work van I just end up blowing the horn. I’m also impressed with the mileage I get at keeping-up-with-traffic speed.

The main reason the previous owner wanted to sell the car was the run flat tires or the RFTs as they’re known as. Unexpectedly I had to deal with this issue after several months of driving the car. The tire pressure monitor system was telling me I had leak in the right rear. Adding air would last a week or so before the system light came back on. After checking the Tirerack website for what run flats were selling for, I needed to confirm what the issue was before purchasing a tire. I removed the wheel from the car and placed it in a big vat of water. With that I found I had some good and some bad news, the good news was the tire was okay, the bad news was the rim was the problem. There was a crack on the inside of the rim that was not visible until after seeing air bubbles coming out of it in the water.

I contacted another member with a similar vehicle for advice and it was conclusive that eBay and Craigslist were the way to go. I watched a set of 4 very, very low mileage Bridgestone RFTs mounted on the same style rim I had for a week on Craigslist and realized the owner was anxious to sell since he had lowered the price when I had checked on Saturday morning. After making contact with the seller, I had negotiated a counteroffer which was accepted. The downside of the deal was they were located about 2 hours away in South Jersey but it was a trip well worth taking. For a little over what 2 tires would have cost from the Tirerack I now had a set of rims that were in much nicer shape than the ones that came with the car along with tires that had low mileage. Eventually when I find another rim I will have a set of tires that I can use for autocrossing.

To those of you who are essential workers and first line responders, I would like to express my gratitude and say thank you for you have been doing the last several months. I look forward to when we can all be together with minimal restrictions.

Stay Safe.

Neil Gambony

Club Happenings – Summer 2019: NJ Chapter Holds Social Event at the Deutscher Club of Clark


The club held a social event at the Deutscher Club of Clark where members of the NJ Chapter enjoyed the warm weather and fine German cuisine and beverages served by the Deutscher Club of Clark and an opportunity to display their cars.

Photo by Paul Ngai.
Photo by Paul Ngai.
Photo by Paul Ngai.

President’s Corner – Spring 2019


By Neil Gambony

I finally made my first visit to BMW’s Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC) and can tell you that it is quite an impressive facility; more on that later. This was our Chapter’s 7th time there; it always seemed that work or some other reason kept me from attending in the past. I needed to see what the VDC was all about for myself; it’s the one event we hold each year that I get the most inquiries about and now I know why. Club members from the New York and Delaware Valley Chapter were welcomed in addition to our own Chapter’s members.

An event like this requires the thanking of many people and businesses. Vice-President Paul Ngai organized a small team of Club members to handle registration and the sale/auction of much merchandise generously donated by BMW of Bridgewater, BMW NA, the VDC and the BMW CCA Foundation. The proceeds of this event of which we raised $6000.00 this year will go to the BMW CCA Foundation. Many thanks to all who attended making this event a great success.

Scott Dishman, the Executive Director of the BMW CCA Foundation, was on hand and invited all that were planning to attend Oktoberfest (October 15-19) to stop in at the Foundation while in Greer, South Carolina. The Foundation is available to all members; they have archived much information about the history of BMW and the history of the BMW CCA, which is now celebrating its 50th year. One of the other programs of the Foundation is the Street Survival School for teenage drivers, of which we have two schools scheduled for the year.

So now about VDC. The VDC was established in 1987 and the one in New Jersey is one of the several centers that BMW has in North America. It is where BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce have their vehicles final preparations done after their long journey before they are sent to their prospective dealerships. Security is very tight here; we were not allowed to take any pictures. Yes, they have vehicles here with the crazy paint graphics that are supposed to disguise them.

How many longshoremen does it take to unload a ship full of cars? It could take 60 to 80 of them and a fleet of vans shuttling them out of the ship to get it done in a day. Seeing this process being done was just one of the features of the tour that the VDC provided plus it didn’t offend me that they rode us out to the see the ship that was being unloaded in the new X7. Many thanks to BMW of Bridgewater for providing breakfast and lunch for all.

A few issues back, I wrote about receiving your newsletter, The Bulletin, on your personal electronic device by receiving it through an e-mail from the NJ Chapter. At that time, I instructed you to go to the BMW CCA National website and click on your personal preference of newsletter delivery. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the National office was doing maintenance on the website and that feature was unavailable then.

I’m happy to report at this time the feature of changing your newsletter delivery preference is working just fine. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps; login to the BMW CCA website (, click on “Manage Account” under “My Membership” then go to “My Profile” where you can update your newsletter delivery choice. I know it’s simple, I figured out how to do it.

Just a reminder on the benefits of receiving the newsletter electronically, you could receive it up to 2-3 weeks sooner depending on what region you live in since it paper copy goes out in bulk mail. The whole issue is in color if there are pictures in it, and you won’t have to discard or recycle it when finished. I would be remiss not to mention that the Chapter will also benefit in savings on the printing and postage, savings that could be put towards some of our other programs.

Does the BMW CCA National Office have the correct e-mail or street address or for you? You could also update that information there. Not all of our members have provided an e- mail address of where they can be contacted. If you are concerned about the BMW CCA selling your address to other businesses, they do not. That was a concern of mine when I first got my account. Providing an e-mail address would be helpful when we send e-blasts that contain information regarding Club events such as the monthly meetings, Autocrosses, Rallies, and Driver Schools. The e-blast came in very handy this past winter when we had to make a last-minute decision to cancel a Club meeting due to inclement weather.

Do you have an associate member in your family? Not only are they entitled to all of the benefits that the BMW CCA has to offer, they are also able to participate in important stuff like the Club’s national or regional elections. The only catch is they need to provide an e-address to the Club since that is the only format of communication from the National Club. They would also be able to receive the newsletter from our Chapter. Yes, you have the option of opting out should you so desire.

Since we are going into the summer months, there are some great events coming up. June is a busy month with several. On the 7th we are returning to the Deutscher Club for their Biergarten. This is a great opportunity for Club members to showcase their cars. June 14-15 is the Driver School and Club Race at NJMP, a Friday and Saturday event. Once again the Westlake School, a school that serves children with multiple disabilities, will benefit from the proceeds of the event. This year the race is a North American Challenge event with 4 races over the course of both days. This will draw racers from all regions including Canada. Club members are welcome to attend the event as spectators even if they are not participating in the school.

June 19th has us returning to Tyspeed Automotive in Jackson, NJ for a Pikes Peak send-off party. Owner Tyler Pappas will be journeying to the Rockies to participate in probably one of the most difficult automotive races in the country if not the world. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb or “Race to the Clouds” as it’s also known, is an event where participants have to be invited to attend. The hill climb has been running since 1916 with a course that has 156 turns in 12.4 miles ascending 4720 feet to a final elevation of 14,110 feet above sea level. Congratulations to Tyler for his invite, let’s show him our support. Closing off June on the 23rd is an Autocross at the TD Bank Ball in Bridgewater; please look for information on the Club’s website regarding it.

There is another Autocross at the TD Bank Ballpark on July 7th and then we are off to Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia for the 5th Annual Geoff Atkinson Driver School and Club Race. The date for the event is July 20-21. As the normal for me, this is one event I look forward to every year. For information about any of our events please be sure to check our website.


Club Happenings – Summer 2016: Monthly Meeting at the Biergarten


By Marc Goeller

For the second year in a row, our Biergarten social event held jointly with our friends from the Deutscher Club started under the rain. A lot of rain! As a result, I hit some heavy traffic on my way to Clark and arrived later than I had planned. I was nevertheless extremely happy to see that all the cars that had entered our People’s choice concours were neatly parked on the grounds! My thank you and gratitude go to our friend, Heinz Ricken, who took the lead to organize the flow of collector cars as well as the two beautiful rides that BMW of Springfield decided to bring to the party: a new 650i xDrive along with a M235i Convertible (or Cabrio as they say in München….).

Photo by Paul Ngai

Fortunately for all of us, the DC is equipped with an amazing hall that is covered and that protected everybody until the rain eventually tamed. All were able to enjoy the amazing German food and beer that was on tap (not mentioning the delicious and gigantic salty pretzels!!) while listening to some traditional Bavarian music. I used this opportunity to distribute the ballots to the participants so that they could vote for their favorite BMW. As usual, three categories were listed: Vintage class (cars 25 years and older), Motorsport class (including all M models) and Modern class (the rest…). In the end, more than 100 votes were cast and quite predictably, the car that gathered the most votes was Bill Dahn’s Pumpkin: a lovely 1973 2002 tii model in a stunning Inca Orange livery!!

Photo by Paul Ngai

Another iconic model, one of the pristine first-generation M3 (also known by its E30 code) that was entered by Bob Krieger, won the Motorsport class. For the little back story, our very own Ross Karlin, club racing chair on our board of directors tied Bob in this class with yet another beautiful E30 M3, but was gracious enough to forego the laurels. Thanks Ross!

Photo by Paul Ngai

Biergarten participants confirmed that they are true connoisseurs of the marque, as they lastly selected the car of William (Bill) Dahn in the Modern Class.

Photo by Paul Ngai

All three class winners received a prize donated by our long-time friends from BMW of Springfield. All of us were really the ultimate winners as we enjoyed yet another wonderful night in the great company of fellow BMW enthusiasts. Looking forward to next year’s Biergarten already…

Photo by Paul Ngai

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